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Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

An overdue word of thanks to all who helped after Hurricane Harvey...

Five weeks ago, I wrote to describe what was happening here in Houston in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey (click here to see that report). Harvey flooded more than 130,000 Houston homes and thousands of businesses, schools and places of worship, and destroyed about 500,000 cars.

I mentioned that our Houston office was collecting donations for the victims of the storm, and for a month, Vacations To Go became a clearinghouse for clothes, shoes, diapers, blankets, toys and more, sent from the readers of this newsletter. Our employees rushed your donations and their own into the relief channels around the city.

I wrote that Vacations To Go had donated $1 million to shelter and recovery efforts underway in Houston, and we heard from more than a thousand of our customers who also donated to one or more of the charities mentioned in the newsletter. We received about 100 donations earmarked for these charities and sent to us directly for delivery. As of today, all of those donations have been delivered to the charities you designated.

We also heard from dozens of amazing organizations, in every corner of the U.S. and Canada, that were sending food and supplies and teams of volunteers to clear out ruined furniture, carpets, hardwoods and drywall before dangerous black mold could set in. People with huge hearts dropped everything and traveled hundreds of miles at their own expense to trudge through muck and debris helping strangers save their homes and salvage their possessions.

Our employees worked alongside these volunteers to save homes, and Vacations To Go's financial donation to Second Baptist Church enabled their corps of volunteers to save 277 homes.

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who contributed in any way to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and to all those who are now helping the victims of hurricanes Irma, Maria and Nate.

One can add up what is lost in a natural disaster, but I am struck today by what Houston has gained. The very best of the human spirit has been on display here since August 26, and as this city returns to normal, we are beyond grateful.

To see photos of donated goods and supplies and cleanup work being done by VTG employees, please click here.

Tropical Storm Nate hit Central America last Thursday, bringing deadly flooding and rains. At least 38 deaths have been reported in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador. Cruise ships altered their routes to keep passengers safe from the storm, skipping port calls in Central America and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Nate gained strength as it moved north through the Gulf of Mexico. It made two landfalls as a Category 1 hurricane on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend, first near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, then near Biloxi, Mississippi. It spared most of the areas pummeled by hurricanes earlier this year but still brought heavy rain, storm surges and flooding to parts of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Port operations were suspended in Mobile and New Orleans, causing a handful of delays in cruise ship embarkations and disembarkations. Both ports have reopened.

At this writing, Nate has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is moving in an easterly direction across the North Atlantic Ocean. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this storm.

In addition to being the largest seller of oceangoing cruises, Vacations To Go is the world's leading seller of river cruises. We also are among the top sellers of escorted tours and tropical resort vacations. If you browse our sites, you'll find travel options for every interest and budget.

From Mediterranean cruises and Alaska voyages on amenity-filled ships to river cruises along the Rhine and Mississippi, and from escorted tours of Italy and Ireland to safaris in Tanzania, we're here to help you see the world at the lowest possible price, in whatever style you choose.

Today, I'll tell you about some of the best and most trusted companies in the travel industry, along with special discounts and deals for Vacations To Go customers.

Some of the cruise offers below include free shipboard credits, which are as good as cash on board and can be used to pay for almost anything not included in the upfront cost of the sailing, like spa treatments and shore excursions.

Just click any link for more information.

Founded in 1933, SITA World Tours offers small-group vacations that typically are limited to 15 guests per departure. Experienced guides and well-crafted itineraries provide insight into the history, customs, ecology and folklore of the places visited. The company visits many destinations, but its trips to Africa and India are among the most popular.

SITA provides upscale African safaris on scheduled departures for small groups but will also customize a safari for as few as two people. It works with the best lodges and guides in each destination and takes care of every detail. A Kenya safari is designed especially for families with young children.

In India, view the incredible Taj Mahal, seek the tigers of Ranthambhore Game Reserve or take a sunrise cruise on the Ganges. On the "Palace on Wheels" itinerary, you'll travel aboard a luxury train with well-appointed cabins (with private baths) and dining and bar cars.

SITA also travels to other destinations in Asia -- from beach escapes in Thailand to Yangtze River cruises in China -- and to Europe, the South Pacific, the Middle East, Central America and South America.

Click here to view all SITA itineraries, dates and departures.

Celebrity Cruises is known for its uniquely designed ships, with restaurants that feature globally inspired cuisine, Canyon Ranch SpaClubs and engaging onboard activities. Its Solstice-class vessels introduced features like top-deck lawns of real grass and onboard glass-blowing demonstrations.

In 2018, Celebrity debuts the Celebrity Edge. It features staterooms with Infinite Verandas that go right to the water's edge -- when the windows are open, your cabin essentially turns into a veranda that's open to the fresh air. The company announced that it will spend $400 million fleetwide to modernize all cabins and add some Edge features to other ships, beginning in 2019.

Celebrity is offering our customers last-minute discounts of up to 83% and exclusive shipboard credits of up to $300 per cabin on voyages through March 2018. Plus choose two of the following perks when you book an ocean-view cabin or higher on select sailings: 1) an additional shipboard credit of up to $300 per cabin, 2) free gratuities, 3) a free beverage package including alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages or 4) unlimited Internet. Suites get all four perks. Book by October 20. See dates and prices.

During your cruise, you can take a mixology class, learn how to dance the salsa or participate in a Zumba session. Celebrity's exceptional culinary program is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher and includes the classic French-inspired fare of Murano, the spa cuisine of Blu and new twists on old favorites at Qsine.

To view Celebrity cruises by region, click here.

Since 1972, Carnival Cruise Line has delivered fun-filled vacations at a terrific value. The popular line carries 5 million guests a year and appeals to families, couples and singles. Currently, 24 ships sail three- to 15-night voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska and more. A 25th ship, the Carnival Horizon, debuts in April 2018.

You'll find day-to-night activities on board. There are deck parties, comedy clubs, water parks, mini-golf courses and sports courts, as well as no-kids Serenity decks, fitness centers and spas. Children's programs are geared toward specific age groups, and teens have their own space at Club O2. Carnival's newest ship, the Carnival Vista, boasts the first IMAX theater at sea, an onboard brewery and SkyRide -- hanging recumbent bikes that you pedal along a track suspended above the ocean.

Dining venues range from casual to elegant, and there's much to choose from. Try Caribbean-inspired fare at the RedFrog Pub, lobster rolls at the Seafood Shack and Italian dishes at Cucina del Capitano. The Steakhouse serves premium cuts and the Chef's Table hosts intimate dinners for 14. There are spots dedicated to sushi, burgers, barbecue and much more.

Carnival has slashed rates by up to 83%. On select sailings, Vacations To Go is offering our customers an exclusive shipboard credit of $50 per cabin, plus pay a 50% reduced deposit. Past guests may see better rates on certain cruises. Book by October 13. See dates and prices.

Click here to see all Carnival ships and sailings.

The elegant, modern-day paddle wheelers of the American Queen Steamboat Company sail the Mississippi River and other heartland waterways, as well as the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Your upfront fare includes complimentary wine and beer at dinner and bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees throughout the voyage.

The line has the following fantastic savings for our customers when you book certain cabin categories.

Save $400 to $1,400 per couple ($200 to $700 per person) off 2017 sailings. Departures include a round-trip holiday sailing from Nashville aboard the new American Duchess, Christmas markets cruises on the Mississippi -- featuring a festive evening at Nottoway Plantation with a holiday market and bonfires on the levee -- and New Year's cruises.

Save $400 to $2,400 per couple ($200 to $1,200 per person) off 2018 vacations when you book and pay in full. Includes the American Queen's Return to Pittsburgh (a new Ohio River sailing), departures of the Bourbon itinerary and 15- and 22-day Mighty Mississippi voyages between New Orleans and Red Wing, Minnesota.

The 166-passenger American Duchess debuted in August. Among accommodations are 550-square-foot Loft Suites with dining and lounging areas, a bathroom and private balcony downstairs and a bedroom and second bath upstairs. Some of the lowest-priced American Duchess sailings of 2018 are scheduled for January, and right now, you can save $1,000 per couple ($500 per person) off these attractive rates. The company also has released additional summer departures from Memphis and New Orleans.

Click here to see all discounts and departures with American Queen Steamboat Company.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is one of four six-star cruise lines, and it is the most all-inclusive of them all. The upfront price of a Regent cruise includes unlimited shore excursions, gratuities, Wi-Fi, unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, in-suite minibars that are replenished daily, meals at specialty restaurants and 24-hour room service, with dinners served course by course during restaurant hours. Throughout their cruise, passengers can expect a high level of pampering and individualized attention.

Regent is offering our customers discounts of up to 84% and exclusive shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin on select sailings. Guests new to Regent receive an additional shipboard credit of $200 per cabin on certain departures. See dates and prices.

Regent's ships carry 490 to 750 passengers. All accommodations are suites, and nearly all have private balconies. The line's newest vessel is the ultra-luxurious Seven Seas Explorer, which has one of the highest space-per-passenger ratios in the industry and the largest balconies at sea.

Across the fleet, you'll find pools, libraries, spas, fitness centers, show lounges and a variety of dining venues. Onboard activities include exercise classes, personal training sessions, guest lectures and instruction in food and wine pairings. The Seven Seas Explorer offers hands-on instruction in its Culinary Arts Kitchen.

Regent's luxury cruises span the globe, from Alaska, the Caribbean and eastern Canada to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Asia and South America.

Click here to learn more about Regent's ships and view departures and rates.

"Destination Immersion" is the philosophy of Azamara Club Cruises, which operates two boutique-style ships that carry 690 guests each: the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. The company is known for scheduling longer stays and more overnights in port so that guests can experience more of the destination. For example, ships spend the night in cities such as Venice, Stockholm, Bangkok and Sydney.

Azamara is offering our customers huge discounts of up to 76% and exclusive shipboard credits of up to $1,000 per cabin. Book by October 23. See dates and prices.

The fare includes spirits, wines and beers in the ship's bars, lounges and restaurants, as well as gratuities, bottled water, soft drinks, teas and specialty coffees.

Also included on most sailings is a nighttime shore excursion called AzAmazing Evening. You might attend a classical music concert at the second-century amphitheater of Ephesus, watch the ceremonial dances of the Huichol people in Mexico's Sierra Madre or enjoy West Indies cuisine and a folklore show in Barbados.

Azamara's vessels often travel to harbors that larger ships can't access. Among cruising regions are the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In 2019, the line will offer Alaska cruises. Some itineraries are based on special events, like the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

In March 2018, a sister ship called the Azamara Pursuit will join the fleet. Meanwhile, to view departures aboard the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, click here.

Crystal Cruises has won "world's best" awards for its luxury vacations aboard beautifully appointed ships. The 980-guest Crystal Serenity and 848-guest Crystal Symphony sail to a variety of destinations. A 62-passenger yacht, the Crystal Esprit, provides a boutique ambience in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Crystal is offering our customers savings of up to 75% and shipboard credits of up to $700 per cabin. Gratuities, fine wines, Champagne, premium spirits and nonalcoholic beverages are included in the rate. Book by October 31. See dates and prices.

The Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony have multiple dining venues, spas and enrichment programs that bring diplomats, historians, chefs and others on board. Computer University@Sea schedules lessons in digital video editing and Web page design, while the Creative Learning Institute offers classes led by specialists in their fields, like tai chi with a martial arts master.

Both ships will undergo extensive redesigns: The Crystal Symphony will be completed later this month, and the Crystal Serenity will be refurbished in fall 2018.

At 280 feet long, the Crystal Esprit sails to exclusive, out-of-the-way shores. It is outfitted with a two-passenger submarine and a water-sports platform with water skis, Jet Skis and snorkeling equipment. Two complimentary excursions -- one culturally inspired, one adventurous -- are provided in many ports.

To see all Crystal cruises, click here.

Last year, Crystal launched Crystal River Cruises, which offers sailings on the famed rivers of Europe aboard ships of 110 or 160 passengers. Companion cruises for free on many departures.

In 1840, the first Cunard Line ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean from England to North America, inaugurating the company's trans-Atlantic mail and passenger service. The RMS Britannia made the trip in 14 days, with 115 first-class travelers, 600 tons of coal, chickens and a cow to provide fresh milk.

Today, Cunard's 3,064-guest Queen Mary 2 is the only ship to regularly make this iconic voyage, sailing between Southampton and New York. The trip is shorter now at seven nights, but it's still thrilling -- and decidedly more elegant.

Newly refurbished in 2016, the Queen Mary 2 has 10 dining venues, a 20,000-square-foot spa, a library with more than 8,000 books and the only planetarium at sea. Passengers can participate in workshops led by actors from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, join an alfresco yoga class or go to a movie or musical production. Mingle in the Champagne bar or English pub, try the golf simulator or attend talks by novelists, actors or historians.

All of Cunard's liners provide white-glove service, well-appointed staterooms and superb cuisine. A new ship joins the fleet in 2022.

Cunard is offering discounts of up to 73%, plus shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin on applicable voyages. On select 2018 sailings, pay a reduced deposit and get free gratuities, or book a suite and also get free drinks. Past guests may see better rates on certain departures. See dates and prices.

Click here for details on Cunard's ships and itineraries.

Explore Alaska beyond its coastal attractions on a Holland America Line cruise tour next summer. These trips package a sailing through the Inside Passage and along the Gulf of Alaska with a multiday exploration of some of the state's most popular inland sights, like Denali National Park and Preserve. Itineraries also can feature destinations in Canada, such as the historic gold rush towns of the Yukon.

The tour portion includes hotel accommodations, transportation to the tour destinations via motor coach or domed railcar and some sightseeing. Cruise tours last nine to 19 nights and depart from Vancouver, Seattle, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Holland America is offering Vacations To Go customers discounts of up to 54% off its voyages. Book select 2018 Alaska cruise tours and receive a free beverage package for two plus dinner for two at the onboard Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant and a shipboard credit of up to $500 per cabin. Past guests may see better rates on select sailings. Book by October 31. See dates and prices.

To see all departures with Holland America, click here.

Riu Hotels & Resorts has 38 all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. The upfront rate of a Riu stay includes your accommodations, all meals and beverages, activities and nonmotorized water sports.

On a Riu vacation you can go kayaking and snorkeling or lounge by a sparkling pool. Get a spa treatment, work out at the gym, go to evening shows or sample a variety of dining venues, including buffets, steakhouses and Italian and Asian options. A beautiful beach is just steps away. Everything you need for a relaxing vacation is right there on-site.

Often three or four Riu properties are located in one large complex, where guests enjoy exchange privileges at the sister resorts. Most Riu resorts welcome guests of all ages, but a few are designated as no-kids retreats. The Riu Palace resorts are the top-of-the-line properties for the Riu brand.

To price a stay, with or without airfare, at any Riu resort, click here.

Top 10 Africa vacations

This week, I've created a Top 10 list of terrific Africa trips from the world's best operators. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability.

1) South Africa: A World in One Country, 14 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town. Starting at $3,345. Departures from October 29 through December 17, 2017.

2) Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure, 14 days with G Adventures. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $2,414. Departures from November 10, 2017 through December 7, 2018.

3) Namibia Discovery, 13 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Windhoek. Starting at $3,600. Departures from January 13, 2018 through December 7, 2019.

4) Kenya Private Safari, 9 days with Monograms. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $3,659. Daily departures from January 1 through December 30, 2018.

5) Exploring South Africa, Victoria Falls & Botswana, 14 days with Collette. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Save $200 per couple. Starting at $4,943. Departures from May 9, 2018 through April 3, 2019.

6) Tanzania: Serengeti to Zanzibar (BBC Earth Journey), 10 days with Tauck. Begins in Arusha and ends in Dar Es Salaam. Starting at $5,540. Departures from January 15 through December 17, 2018.

7) Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth, 9 days with CroisiEurope. Begins in Johannesburg and ends in Victoria Falls. Starting at $6,319. Departures from January 5 through December 19, 2018.

8) Splendors of Africa, 12 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Starting at $6,525. Daily departures from January 1 through December 19, 2018.

9) Kenya & Tanzania Wildlife Safari, 12 days with Abercrombie & Kent. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $7,995. Departures from January 9 through December 23, 2018.

10) Pearl of Africa, 8 days with African Travel. Begins in Entebbe and ends in Kigali. Starting at $8,095. Daily departures from January 1 through May 21, 2018.

Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-291-3346. For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click here.

For the world's best selection of deeply discounted cruises, click here.
For river cruises along famed waterways, click here.
For escorted tours to destinations worldwide, click here.
For hotels and resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Europe, click here.

Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@africasafari.com and I will respond the same day.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please forward this email to family and friends.


Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go

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